By Jim Roth | Guest Columnist
Monday, February 18, 2013
President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that with significant investments in our own American energy industry and infrastructure, we are poised to control our own energy future.
For as long as I can remember, American presidents have worked through the generations to wean America’s reliance off of a foreign energy supply both as a means to protect our national security interests and to provide economic and environmental benefits that are made in America. And we are well on our way.
America’s energy industry has led us to a point where we are producing more oil at home than we have in the past 15 years, according to remarks made at the State of the Union. And that is a truly remarkable feat thanks in large part to the energy pioneers that we have right here in Oklahoma.
These Oklahoma energy leaders are using technological advancements all across this country to find and recover once-thought-impossible reserves.
Additionally, the state of natural gas production in America is revolutionary. The president announced that we produce more natural gas than we ever have before in the United States. And, he boldly declared that as a direct result of our greater utilization of the native resource, our emissions of dangerous carbon pollutions have actually fallen.
Not only does the greater reliance of our own resources benefit us economically, this growth is also helping us combat climate change. You know, that worldwide condition that is leading to erratic, dangerous weather patterns, as well as 68-degree February weekends. The president discussed that America has been experiencing the 12 hottest years on record over the last 15 years, with significant heat waves, devastating droughts, and major superstorms like Hurricane Sandy.
In recognition of this reality, the president looked to the natural gas boom as a source of inspiration for how America can combat the growing reality of climate change. It was, after all, market-based incentives and technological advances that led to the shale gas revolution that ultimately resulted in our cleaner air. And, according to President Obama, it is those same kinds of advances that can help us be the global leader in combating climate change.
The president’s plan involves the creation of an energy security trust, which is supported by a nonpartisan coalition of CEOs, that helps drive down the cost of renewable technologies and makes them economically viable. Likewise, the president wants to cut in half energy wasted by the largest polluter: our buildings. Our homes and businesses remain the largest polluters in the world, and if we are able to cut in half the energy wasted over the next 20 years, the dramatic effect on the fight on climate change would be profound.
The president also realizes that our crumbling energy infrastructure is in significant need of repair. America’s public utilities and regional transmission organizations will need to spend billions in capital to continue to provide electricity and power to America’s vast expanse. And to get there, the president wants to look to the states to do it, providing federal support to the states with the best ideas.
Oklahoma, with its native-fuels-first mantra, has some of the best ideas. And by utilizing more of our native, clean resources, like natural gas and wind, we can power America’s energy future in a clean, economic, and efficient way.
Jim Roth, a former Oklahoma corporation commissioner, is an attorney with Phillips Murrah P.C. in Oklahoma City, where his practice focuses on clean, green energy for Oklahoma.